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When a relationship becomes more important than having children

By Nina Steele 

How many times have we heard of couples who can no longer stand each yet have remained together for the sake of their children? It is commendable to know that there are people out there willing to sacrifice their personal happiness in order to give their children a stable upbringing. So long as they are not at each other’s throat constantly, which in my view makes the whole ‘sacrifice’ pointless, then maybe more couples are to be encouraged to follow that route.

On the other hand, one also often hears that far from being oblivious to what goes on around them, children can pick up their parents vibes and so know when things aren’t going well, if so, then this turns the whole argument of staying together for the sake of the children on its head, because the implication here is that it does them more harm than good. Whatever the answer, we as a couple will never know since we do not have children.

When we made the decision not to carry on trying for a child after 9 years, one of the main reasons was to preserve our relationship. Indeed our marriage had grown stronger and we feared that the strain of the whole process could have a negative impact. After all we thought, what mattered most, having a child at any cost, including at the cost of our relationship or preserving the relationship by abandoning our pursuit? We did of course choose the latter option.

When a couple goes through such a journey, it either tears them apart or it brings them closer together and we were fortunate enough that it did bring us closer together. Of course there are many couples who do have children and a great relationship as well and although we will never know what the impact of having children would have been for us, at least having a strong marriage has made not having children completely acceptable.

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Comments

  1. GemmaRowlands says

    Issues can take over in life, and when you are trying for a child everything else falls into insignificance. I know of a lot of couples who have split up shortly after having a child because one of them, usually the husband, can’t handle the fact that he is no longer the number one priority. The strongest couples are those who can stand by each other through everything, and it sounds as though you definitely fall into that category.

  2. Hi Gemma, you put it beautifully, yes when you are trying for a child, everything else becomes insignificant and that to me is the danger. Your life is literally put on hold and it is a tacit understanding that you will switch the forward button once you succeed in having a child. Again, it is my view that the main reason why most people feel such urge to fulfil this need is in many cases so that they can fit in with the rest of society. When the choice is made for you and you are unable to have children, you either accept it and move on or you let it define who you are by living a life devoid of joy and full of bitterness.

  3. Julez Fitzmond says

    I think it’s so important to stop to think about things when you’re trying for a child. Because it’s not something that I’ve ever been able to do, it’s been interesting to see just how much my friends have been affected when their time comes. It all becomes about having sex as much as possible, at the right time and at the right body temperature (I mean, really?) and everything else gets put to the side. That is so unhealthy. If you have to try for a number of years, you may well find that by the end of the process you’re no longer the people that you were when you started out, and that can cause problems.

  4. Until you have a child, your partner is the most important person in your entire life. Even after this point they should come pretty close (although most would probably say that they would choose their child) so this means that you should ensure that you take care of your relationship! Sometimes, damage can’t be repaired, so make sure you make time for each other no matter how much it might feel as though trying for a child is taking over.

    • What many couples seem to forget I find, is that one day, the children will leave the family home to make a life for themselves and the parents will be left to carry on with their own life. The danger is that by not taking care of their relationship, once the children leave, many couples find that they have drifted so far apart that they have become strangers to each other. Some find a way of working through this, while many others find that it is too late. Not having children means that the relationship remains the focus and in our case, it has brought us closer together, since we only have each other.

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